7 Pillars of Awesome Activist Events

You can also download this document as a printable PDF handout.

I. Know your Aims

  • What’s the point (what do you want to achieve)? Is it to raise awareness, explain something, get new members, achieve practical change, raise money, or something else?
  • Could you achieve your aims in a different way, without an event?
  • Is another organisation doing a similar event who you could support or collaborate with?
  • What will people do next? Does the event form part of a programme or campaign?
  • Who’s going to come (what’s your audience)?

II. Be Organised

  • Who’s going to coordinate the event? Would it help to have people take on specific roles?
  • Can you get advice from people who might be able to help you?
  • How will you involve other people in planning and running the event? Will you hold meetings or create a mailing list?

III. Have Good Content

  • What will the event feature? Are you inviting a speaker, showing a film, running an activity, something else? How topical or creative does it sound?
  • How will the event’s content help you achieve your aim? Will your attendees leave feeling inspired, informed, included?
  • Is the event’s content well suited to your audience?

IV. Get the Practicalities Right

  • When will the event be? Does this give you enough time to plan and publicise? Does is clash with another event? Is that a problem? Does your timing fit your audience?
  • Where will the event be? Can you find a venue that is cheap, well equipped, nice, accessible to people with disabilities (e.g. has a hearing aid loop, space for wheelchairs, step-free access, parking)?
  • How will people get there? Is public transport an option? If not can you provide transport?
  • Do you need to get any extra equipment?
  • Do you want to provide food and/or drink, or encourage people to bring it?
  • What props, programmes, information or other things to do you need to prepare?
  • Can people who can’t attend get something out of it? Will you be writing it up, filming it, or taking photographs?
  • Will the event cost money to run? If so how will you pay for it? Will you charge or ask for donations? How will you keep track of your budget?
  • Does it matter if you know how many people are coming beforehand? Is so will you ask people to register or reserve places beforehand?

V. Spread the Word

For a rough guide this should take about 50% of the time

  • Have you let your members/related organisations know about the event so they can help publicise it?
  • How will you let new audiences know about your event? Do you want to run a flyering campaign, or contact people by phone, email or post? Can you give announcements or share videos?
  • Are there listings pages, mailings, newsletters, and facebook pages you can submit your event to, or could you get coverage in local press?

VI. Stay Calm On the Day

  • Have you written an organisational plan for the event, and does everyone involved know their roles and responsibilities? What time should you arrive and pack up?
  • Have you thought about things that might go wrong?
  • If you’re in charge of practical things, pay attention and make sure people can find you.
  • If you’re with attendees, pay attention, smile, and talk to as many people as you can.
  • Make the most of the event! Remember, whoever comes is the right people.

VII. Do the Follow Up

  • What will attendees do next? How can you encourage them to do this?
  • Are there people you need to thank?
  • When will you evaluate the event and celebrate your success?






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